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As the West steps up sanctions, Russia starts banning food

 As the United States and Europe step up economic sanctions against Russia, Moscow’s food-safety epidemiologists have been working overtime.

In the past few weeks, Russian agricultural and consumer watchdog agencies have announced the discovery of harmful levels of antibiotics in U.S. poultry, contaminants in Ukrainian dairy, pests in European produce and bacteria in U.S. fast food. They have either imposed or threatened blanket bans on the products in question in response to the reported “violations.”

Is it a coincidence that the products are from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia for its support of a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine or have otherwise angered the Kremlin?

That’s what the Russian agencies maintain. But experts say the bans are highly politicized gestures in classic Russian diplomatic style. And because it may be to domestically costly for Russia to respond to measures restricting guns, oil exploration and banks in kind, they have settled for sticking it to fruit, cheese and fast food.

Continue reading at www.washingtonpost.com


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